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Photo by Environmental Progress

Junji Cao

Chinese Academy of Sciences


Chinese Academy of Sciences





What makes Cao Junji a Global Shaker?

Cao Junji, a chemist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is the man behind the ‘world’s biggest air purifier’, and experimental project in China.

Based in Xian, one of the most contaminated areas in China — which reportedly sees city residents choke on smog specks ‘harder than steel’ — the chimney is topped by glass, which heats up air that passess through the chimney and makes it rise through a series of filters, before being released into the atmosphere.

Although some have expressed concern about whether the tower is taking out all harmful pollutants from the air, or simply those that make it look dirty, Cao says that improvements in air quality had been observed over a 10 square kilometre areas. He adds that the tower creates more than 10 million cubic metres of clean air every day.

Cao has also set out plans for a taller, 300-metre tower in Xian, and is reportedly negotiating budgets with Pekin, Henan and Hebei.

The scientist worked on the project with worked alongside David Pui at the University of Minnesota, and Wenquan Tao in the University of Xi’an Jiaotong.

Last updated: June 7, 2019